Making a plan to support my peonies

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I have a gardening confession to make. I’m a neglectful peony mama. Every spring, I intend to add supports around my peony shoots as they emerge from the ground, but other spring tasks draw my attention away and before I know it, the plants are bushy and full of buds. 

Peony shoots

Peony shoots in the spring

I have about eight plants around my yard, all providing various shades of pink flowers in the spring. They don’t all bloom at the same time, so when they’re in season, I get to enjoy freshly cut peonies in vases for a few weeks. However, if I just paid a little more attention in the early spring, I’d also get to enjoy them in the garden for longer. Peony blooms are heavy. Without some type of support system, they’ll open and then all it takes is one heavy spring rain or especially gusty day and they flop over.

Peony ragdolls

Peony rag dolls

There are several different types of supports you can use. There are special peony hoops that pretty much look like tomato cages (that being said, you could also use a tomato cage, depending on the size of the plant). I’ve seen gardeners recommend adding supports in the fall after you cut back the plants. That way they’re already there in the springtime when the plants start to grow in.

Peony’s Envy, a nursery and display garden that ships peonies throughout the U.S., offers some great diagrams showing different ways to support peonies on its website. I think I’ll try the fencing option this spring, being sure to put it in place well before the peonies leaf out and start to produce buds. I also found this cool contraption. I’ll also just try a plain old peony cage, so I can compare which method works the best.

peony

This two-tone beauty is one of my favourites. Who am I kidding, they’re all my favourites for different reasons!

How do you support your peonies?

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9 Responses to Making a plan to support my peonies

  1. T S says:

    I raise many varieties of peonies that don’t need support, no matter the weather. They include the Itoh (intersectional peonies) and many that have strong, sturdy stems. Lots of them available at Brooks Gardens peonies.

    • Cindy Roth says:

      Herbaceous peonies need support. Itoh and tree peonies don’t (according to some research I just did). I just used tomato cages to support my new ones I planted today.

  2. I leave my supports up all year – it keeps me from forgetting where the blasted things are, come early Spring and also protects the tender shoots from me and the dog, as we go into the Hill Border for the beginning of cleanup. I leave my peony leaves on the plant until early Winter and, if I forget, I just cut them down in very early Spring.

  3. Eric says:

    I don’t leave my peony supports up. The snow would destroy them. I enjoy putting them back around my peonies in the spring because I don’t need an excuse to get out in the garden after a long winter. I have about 20 peony varieties now and I use the basic 2 hoop design available at any big box garden center. Wouldn’t do without ’em!

  4. kyra says:

    I’ve been using old lampshades. Remove the fabric and use the wire part.

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